Jump to content

How to get started in the competition dog world


Recommended Posts

caseybritt

Good Afternoon, 

I have often been intrigued by the competition world of dogs, and not because I want to win but I believe that competition begats the best qualities out of things. It will make me a better trainer, put me around the very best etc. We have a 2 year old Britt that has turned out to be wonderful, has an excellent notice, points, backs, retrieves and is stylish as can be. I really would like to get involved with some area trials and/or hunt tests but I really do not know where to look and how to get started in these events. Living  in NJ I feel like we are always on the short end of the stick in regards to upland hunting is concerned but any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave Quindt

I'll post more later but AKC Pointing Breed hunt tests is where I'd recommend you start.  Why non-competitive hunt tests over competition field trials?  Because hunt tests give you the opportunity to learn how to handle your dog to a standard while under judgement...without the pressures of competition where your bracemate isn't incented to see you succeed.

 

The beauty of the hunt test program is that dogs that make it through it the Master Hunter program relatively smoothly are often in a really great position to move to competition trials like AKC Field Trials or NSTRA trials.

 

More to follow,

Dave

Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave Quindt

A few items to read:

https://www.akc.org/sports/pointing-breeds/hunt-tests/articles/real-purpose/

 

https://www.akc.org/sports/pointing-breeds/hunt-tests/articles/get-started/

 

And a question for @caseybritt .  Are you interested in training your dog to being steady to wing and shot or does that not interest you at all?  That answer will define what venues are/are not appropriate.

 

Thanks,

Dave

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
caseybritt

Currently he is not steady to wing and shot, and I have never trained a dog to be actually. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ray Gubernat

caseybritt - 

 

Being in NJ if you want to get into competitions with a Brittany is FAR from a bad thing.  Some of the best Brittany breeders and trialers I know are members of the English Setter Club of America in Medford, NJ.   I don't know where on the Jersey shore you are, but I'd look into getting over there and making some contacts with folks.  I also recommend that you go to a trial or two and a hunt test or two to figure out which your dog is best suited for.  I'll take a shot in the dark, knowing that your dog is from Quail Hollow stock and  not yet steady to wing and shot and suggest that you look into hunt tests as they might be a better fit for both you and your dog.    

 

If you go onto the AKC site, punch up hunt tests for pointing breeds and Delaware.  You will find there is a hunt test scheduled for the last weekend in February, the 27th and 28th at the C & R center in Felton DE.  come down and walk a few braces of junior hunter, which is pretty much what your dog is right now, and do a couple braces of Senior Hunter, to see what the next step in that progression is.  it is a double double event so there will be multiple opportunities to see dogs competing in the various classes.  Bring blaze orange vests and probably blaze orange caps too.   leave your dog at home so you can see what you need to see without worrying about your dog.   

 

At the beginning of April, there will be a field trial being put on by the North Jersey Brittany Club. It is actually dual sanctioned, both by the AKC and by the American Field, so you are going to see some of the better dogs in the tri-state area there.

 It will be run from  Friday, 4/2 through Sunday 4/4.  It will be run either at the Greenwood Forest WMA(the quail management area) or at the Setter Club in Medford.  With the Covid thing, it is not certain that the public area will be available for use, so the folks running it might opt for the Setter club.  Don't know yet. 

 

I would suggest that if you want to watch some pretty decent horseback dogs, that you go there Saturday or Sunday.  They will be running a full slate of stakes, both open and amateur...puppy, derby and gundog. There should be a good variety of pointing breeds there, so you may get to see some nice performances by different pointing breeds.   Not certain of the scheduling, except that the Open Gundog will be run on Friday.  You probably won't want to plan on watching  the Friday stake because they probably won't have horses available for rent and the Open Gun is usually a very competitive stake.   The dogs in this type of stake  are typically a whole lot of dog and it is not at all uncommon for these dogs to be  several hundred yards out in front of their handlers.  These dogs tend to push the envelope and are typically not for the faint of heart.   

 

However, some of the best  Brittany breeders and trialers will be there, so you might want to make some contacts and pick some folk's brains.  If you do come on Friday, I'll try to hook you up with some folks who can  explain what is going on.  I would ordinarily be happy to do it myself, but I am scheduled to judge the stake, so I cannot.    

 

RayG

 

PS- 

 

Getting a good hunting dog steady to wing and shot is not all that hard especially when they are younger, as your dog is.  Yu can get it done yourself over the coming summer, or engage a pro to do it for you in the same timeframe.  A pro should be able to get it done in about 8-10 weeks, and I mean dead steady to wing shot and fall.    

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hal Standish
On 1/19/2021 at 3:21 PM, Ray Gubernat said:

A pro should be able to get it done in about 8-10 weeks, and I mean dead steady to wing shot and fall.    

 

Right on right on! Casey Britt. Ray gives you some excellent intel here in his response.

One thing that does not get much press are the time lines needed to train various situations. Introductions to birds and guns Force Fetch or Trained retrieve Steadiness to wing and shot. In this case Steadiness training 8-10 weeks is right on. This kind of information gives folks some idea of what it is going to take and whether or not the investment in time and money should be made. and if attempted does the training fit in with the owners standards and goals for the dog and owner. Thanks Ray!

 

Hal

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ray Gubernat
23 hours ago, stephen brown said:

Time and money?

Caseybritt - 

 

Time and money are ALWAYS part of the equation when considering competition with dogs.   Not knowing the situation with the OP is another reason I suggested that they look into hunt tests.  If someone is a bird hunter they already have most of what they need to participate, in terms of "stuff" . 

The only other thing they  will need a fair amount of is time to train for and travel to events.  Sometimes, finding that time  can be a real challenge for a working stiff with a family.   Been there.  

 

FWIW, the typical hunt test is, in my limited  experience, tends to be a much more family friendly situation than the average field trial usually is, these days. 

 

With Covid, all bets are off, but that is what is.  

 

The only other thing I will say is that competing with your dog can be positively infectious, and drive you to spend more and more time and effort into developing your dog and yourself to be a better competitive team.   

 

Consider yourself warned.

 

RayG

 

 

 

   

Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely attend test and/or trials when you can, to get an idea of what goes on and what you might need to start in.  Tell some friendly-looking folks what you're doing and one or more will likely talk your ear off about it.


Ask around about trainers and fees, as stated here 8-10 weeks for training, not stated is rate.  A trainer I've used gets $800 per month so that would be around $1800, and some charge additional for birds used.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hal Standish
13 hours ago, kgb said:

Ask around about trainers and fees, as stated here 8-10 weeks for training, not stated is rate.  A trainer I've used gets $800 per month so that would be around $1800, and some charge additional for birds used.  

 

Fees and  pricing are fairly regional. But that figure of $800 per month is right in the ball park. I retired in 2015 I was at $750 per month plus birds. Bird bills for steadying were always around the $100. mark for the month Pigeons and Pheasants. 2 month minimum for Force fetch training  3 month minimum for Steadying

 

Hal 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go with Ray’s advice. The north jersey club puts on a great trial. Their members are very welcoming. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...